National Music Publishers Assn. Twitter, on behalf of 17 major music publishers, filed a federal copyright infringement lawsuit against Twitter for failing to license and pay for music widely available on its platform.
The complaint seeks damages of more than $250 million for hundreds of thousands of perceived violations of approximately 1,700 businesses.
“Twitter fuels its business with countless infringing copies of musical compositions, violating the exclusive rights of publishers and others under copyright law,” the complaint reads in part. While many of Twitter’s competitors recognize the need for appropriate licenses and agreements to use music tracks on their platforms, Twitter does not, and instead generates massive copyright infringement that harms music creators…
Twitter knows full well that neither it nor users of the Twitter platform have secured licenses for the pervasive use of music performed on its platform as complained of here. However, in connection with its highly interactive platform, Twitter consistently and knowingly hosts infringing copies of music tracks, including those uploaded or streamed to Tennessee residents, including specific infringing material that Twitter knows to be infringing. Routinely supply known repeat offenders with Twitter’s platform, which they use for further infringement.Twitter benefits greatly from its infringement of publishers’ repertoire of music compositions. …
“Twitter’s illegal behavior has caused and continues to cause significant, irreparable harm to publishers, their songwriter customers, and the entire music system. Illegal Twitter behavior enriches Twitter at the expense of publishers, songwriters, and their copyrighted musical compositions. Twitter declined the invitations. that require it to obtain the necessary licenses or other agreements to legally use music tracks on its platform.”
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The plaintiffs include: Concord, UMPG, peermusic, ABKCO Music, Anthem Entertainment, Big Machine Music, BMG Rights Management, Hipgnosis Songs Group, Kobalt Music Publishing America, Mayimba Music, Reservoir Media Management, Sony Music Publishing, Spirit Music Group, Royalty Network, Ultra Music Publishing, Warner Chappell Music, and Wixen Music Publishing.
The NMPA has aggressively filed or threatened similar legal action against companies in the past, including TikTok, Twitch, Peloton, Roblox, and others, which usually result in an agreement or settlement in favor of the publishers. Twitter has undergone several layoffs and policy changes since it was acquired by Elon Musk last year.
“Twitter stands alone as the largest social media platform that completely refuses to license millions of songs on its service,” said David Israelit, President and CEO of the NMPA. “Twitter knows very well that music is leaked, released, and streamed by billions of people every day on its platform. It can no longer hide behind DMCA and refusal to pay songwriters and music publishers”.
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